Watching other people play to help study Go

Once again I feel not-the-brightest, but how can I see other people’s games in OGS to study them? I went here, but…

  • Is there a way to filter teaching games, so I can also see the comments?
  • If it is a live game, does me clicking anything (like analyze) disrupt their game?

Even when I tried watching games on YT, I don’t understand what’s going on, I just watch stones placed and am at a complete loss.

Bonus question: do people watch Go games the way other people watch the World Cup/ F1/ figure skating etc?


I guess you already know about nick sticky but I like watching his game reviews. I feel he explains the thought process clearly.

  • No, you cannot search games
  • No. You cannot disrupt their game. If you share variations or post anything in chat, it’s hidden to the players until the game ended.

I like to watch commented games on YT or twitch. To watch uncommented games is kind of boring.
I kind of like the basics series of battsgo on twitch and dwyrin on YT (same guy).


Please do not feel self conscious because you desire to ask questions. Seeking knowledge is a sign of strength, not weakness :face_with_monocle:. We are all friendly and welcoming here. Go in general tends to have wonderful and welcoming folks who enjoy playing it. So, please, ask away :wink:.


Teaching games are impossible to differentiate from non-teaching games. You would need to somehow be made aware that a game is going to be a teaching game, here on OGS.

If you are looking for some ideas on how to think about your moves and things to consider when playing go, I recently started keeping track of games I’ve left comments on or were dedicated Teaching games. I give plenty of examples and advice. If you are interested you can find them here:

Left Some Comments
theorist (25k) vs. aurok (25k) (finished)

Full Reviews
Mulsiphix vs dviener (24k) (ongoing)
PMEve (22k) vs pouta (22k) (finished)
Mulsiphix vs Gia (?) (ongoing)

Additionally, there is a Teaching sub-forum here in the OGS Forums which is a great source for finding OGS based teaching games. If you are looking for Teaching Games though, there is a really great resource here (10,000+ games with commentary).


Yes, they absolutely do. There are major tournaments all year round. You can find action on TwitchTV, YouTube, and all manner of Go related websites. I don’t follow this aspect of Go myself, but I’m sure others here could provide you with some great links, if you were to ask :blush:


No. Even what you type in chat will not be visible to the players participating in the match, until after it has ended. Other spectators will be able to read your chat during a live match. Analyzing it does not affect them at all. Nobody else will be able to know that you are analyzing the game, not even after the match.


It sounds like you may be just starting out with Go. If that is the case, I have some information that you might find helpful. I have written a large article for newcomers that talks about getting better at Go and lists a lot of resources. I’m trying to cut down on how often I post the entire thing, so I will just link to it.


And finally, if you ever find yourself feeling poorly about your skill at Go, because of your rank, please read this post. Because your rank shouldn’t matter :wink:.



I highly recommend Dwyrin’s Back to Basics series of videos on YouTube. Also, I have found that the game reviews here in the Forums are often very instructive.


You’ve already gotten some very nice information. I just wanted to share my experience with learning from watching games. It’s very easy to zone out and learn nothing, so I turn it into a sort of mini-game.

First, find a relatively slow game so that you have time to consider each move, although if you find your self spacing out because they are taking so long, try to find a faster game. Second, make sure the players are at least nine stones above your current rank. This will ensure that their moves will almost certainly be moves that you can learn from. Now, the game is to guess the next move. Keep score, but don’t get discouraged if you cannot guess more than the occasional move. If you get a move wrong, try your best to figure out why they made the move that they did and the way in which their move differed from yours. It’s won’t always be true that your move would have been an huge blunder, but you may have been missing the bigger picture or a move that is just more efficient.

If you just have no idea what the move of the stronger player means, don’t worry. If you could understand all their moves, you would be close to their strength. Sometimes, the game itself will show you the meaning of previous moves, but this is not always true. There is a lot of hidden information in Go, sequences that both players know about but do not play out for a variety of reasons.

I used the method above to go from almost a complete beginner to a sdk on IGS several years ago (I also played games), but it’s not the only or the best way to learn Go. At your level, the best thing to do is play games. Many games. You will lose most of them. That’s a big part of Go that won’t ever go away. It’s also a good idea to read some introductory books and do some beginner level tsumego (go puzzles or problems) books. Tsumego hero (website) is free and effective imo.

Good luck. If you need a review or are puzzled by the move of a stronger player when watching a game, shoot me a pm and I can try to help.


Nick Sibicky? Actually, it was one of the first suggestions I got when I started, but me being me and overwhelmed by bookmarking and saving everything I had forgotten about it, buried somewhere in my notes. So, you helped me remember it, thanks! :slight_smile:

Thanks for the detailed reply, especially the reviewed games archive spoke directly to my bookwormy stone heart :slight_smile:

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Oops! Should have checked the autocorrect!

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Personally, I find that I learn a lot more from some games than others:

  • GAMES THAT END IN A SCORE RATHER THAN A RESIGNATION are easier for a beginner to learn from. A lot of times, in complex games that end in a Resignation - it can take a beginner a long time to understand WHY one side was behind, because it takes so long to see false eyes, and groups that may not live down the road. All of this might not be obvious to the untrained eye in a 4dan vs 5dan game that ended at move 150.

  • GAMES THAT END IN A CLOSE SCORE RATHER THAN A HUGE WIN - I find that I learn a lot more from games where both opponents were evenly matched, and each managed to either keep their mistakes to a minimum, or kept their captures and invasions about even.

So what I do is - I use the live games happening at the moment as a way of finding players with interesting styles. Once you find such a player, click on their username to go to their profile, and check out their GAME HISTORY.

Then, look for games that have a score, and find one where the score was within 5-20 points. Then, open up that game and play through it move by move.

At each move, try to evaluate the position

  • what move are you most likely to play next? what are you paying attention to?
  • if their move was different why did they play there instead? what difference in strategy does that difference point to? how can you apply those lessons to your own games?
  • which of their strategies worked? what attempts backfired? how did each side make the most of their opportunities?
  • what were the points that turned the tide of the game? did one side get a big advantage in the opening / early midgame? who was the more aggressive player? did that work for them, or did it backfire?
  • did it feel like one side was leading the whole time? or was it a back and forth throughout the whole game?

It takes a while to learn to see all those layers of information, especially when you’re watching advanced players, so try to find a level that makes sense for you - i.e. if you’re finding dan-level games too abstract, and you can’t understand why they’re making most of their moves, try finding some interesting SDK or DDK level games that you can follow.

Good luck!


Thank you, I’ll use your answer as a how-to :slight_smile:

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I don’t find watching games live to be very effective unless you are actively discussing it with someone. Instead, I like finding finished games from profile histories and replay them quickly a couple times to get a sense of the game flow, then find the crucial moves/sequences on the next replay if I can. It is more effective in terms of time spent/games observed.
However, if you find a live game with lots of spectators, there’ll be people who explain things if you make comments or ask questions in game chat. Such big games with people kibitzing can be both educative and fun.
Also, if you are the social type, you could ask players to talk in malkovich log for your benefit - not many would go for it but you might get lucky.


There is a nice YouTube site, Find Out the Move (, that presents professional games with a structured guessing game (offering 3 wrong, though plausible, moves, and the right move). Although there are no explanations, you can compare the moves and get some sense of why the wrong moves are not as strong. Unfortunately, nothing new has been posted in a year.


I tried watching a live game once and could not tell what was going on to save my life :slight_smile:


I tried playing a live game once and could not tell what was going on to save my life. :scream:

Correspondence: :heart:


I watched hundreds/thousands of KGS high dan blitz matches back in the day… of course it helps more than watching ddk games, but it doesn’t help as much as studying pro games would.

Almost 100% of Go newbies falsely assume they had to understand anything when watching a game. No, you don’t. Your brain is a-ma-zing at recognizing abstract patterns, just give it loads of input. Treat it like AlphaGo, feed it the best data you can get (strong bot matches, pro matches). Once you’ve developed shape intuition (you still won’t understand why, but you will want to play on certain intersections for some reason), you can properly attack tsumego to train how to visualize more than 1 move (reading).

Once you can read about 5 moves ahead, look into mathematical endgame calculation. A rock-solid endgame will win you more games than you might expect.

Once you’ve got shape intuition and you can back it up with reading, you can also look into the theory of Go strategy as it will provide you with some general heuristics to help you order your various ‘shape intuition’ proposals.


Step-by-step explanation really helps, thank you! :slight_smile:


I just wanted to go back and laugh at my old self, as I’m sitting comfortably watching live congress games on OGS.


Realizing that Go made a fascinating spectator sport was a big turning point for me. It made slowly absorbing more complex strategy seem FUN.


(It’s great to see the “1 Year Later” note in the thread and read it in SpongeBob Narrator voice. But I digress…)

One element of a live game that is missing from post-game reviews is that you can see how much time the players took for each move. When there’s a quick reply or quick sequence, I get the strong feeling that it was an expected exchange. When they put it more time, then it makes me curious about what kind of difficult sequence they could be reading, or where on the board they were weighing a tenuki. I appreciate this aspect and feel like I can approach a little closer to the players’ minds.